- Paul Hartman
San Francisco, California
deathdate=death date and age|1973|10|2|1904|3|1
Los Angeles, California
tonyawards = Leading Actor in a Musical
Angel in the Wings"
Paul Hartman (
March 1, 1904– October 2, 1973) was an American dancer, stage performer and television character actor.
San Francisco, California, Hartman, like Fred Astaire, began performing as a dancer with his sister. In 1922, he teamed up with Grace Barrett for a long and successful dancing comedy vaudevilleact that consisted of them both paying homage to and gently mocking the popular dances of the day, from ballet to swing. The two married in 1927.
Along with Grace, Paul made his Broadway debut in "
Ballyhoo of 1932" alongside Bob Hope, but the show was not a success. The two found success with Cole Porter's " Red Hot and Blue" a few years later, and continued to flourish on the Great White Way. The main premise of their act involved the crisp and witty Grace overwhelming the gangly, slackjawed Paul, intermittently cut with dance numbers and musical comedy routines.
The Hartmans' success led them to Hollywood, but Paul only saw limited success there, most prominently appearing alongside
Frank Sinatraand Victor Borgein 1943's " Higher and Higher". Upon the Hartmans' return to Broadway, they resolved to take charge and write their own revue. 1948's "Angel in the Wings" was a smash success, and both Hartmans were named best lead performer at the first ever Tony Awards held that same year.
The two were then offered a sitcom on
NBC, and " The Hartmans (at Home)" showed promise, but audiences didn't take to the show, which often featured canned scripts and little opportunity for the Hartmans to show off their physical and musical abilities. Paul and Grace returned to Broadway, where they spent 3 years in a number of variety shows and revues.
Paul's life changed forever in 1952 when Grace was diagnosed with
cancer. Television and Hollywood had once again risen to the top of the entertainment world, and the convenience of television shooting and a quick paycheck lured Paul out to Los Angeles once more. He began appearing on " Pride of the Family" opposite Fay Wray" in 1953, and continued to do so up until Grace's death in 1955.
Paul returned one last time to Broadway in 1957, but by then he himself was over 50 and tiring of the hectic stage life. He continued to play bit parts in movies and television throughout the rest of his life, most famously as handyman Emmett Clark in "
The Andy Griffith Show" and " Mayberry R.F.D." In a nod to his earlier life, he is seen doing a dance routine at Howard Sprague's party in the Andy Griffith episode "The Wedding", and in the RFD episode "The Charity", he can be seen doing a soft shoe routine with costar Ken Berry. In addition, he had small parts on " Petticoat Junction", " Love, American Style", " Ben Casey", " The Twilight Zone", " The Alfred Hitchcock Hour", and many other shows.
Hartman died from a heart attack in
Los Angeles, Californiaat the age of 69.
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